Our last day in Paris had finally arrived, and though I felt a pain of sadness every time I thought about leaving this enchanting city, the excitement of our last day’s activity kept my mind off of our departure early the next morning. It was Easter Sunday and we had saved this day especially to visit and explore the famed Notre Dame cathedral! I was very glad we saved this attraction to the end, and was so excited to see this particular landmark on such a special day in the Catholic/Christian religion.
Like everything in Paris, the architecture of the Notre Dame was stunning. Gothic, grand, mysterious, overwhelming, are just a few of the words that I can construct to describe this monumental building, and to see her in person on Easter Sunday, made her all the more exceptional. Unlike most of our time spent in Paris, the cold was suppressed by a brilliant sun that shone bright and warm as we approached the Cathedral. After taking all of the necessary pictures, we were able to enter the Notre Dame and explore her grandeur. It was breathtaking inside, further enhanced by the many travelers who came to pay their respects by lighting candles in honor of the resurrection of Jesus; the whole Cathedral was aglow. Everything from the stained class windows, to the huge hanging bells, made me feel like I stepped back in time to another world (I also couldn’t get the Disney move “the Hunchback of Notre Dame” out of my head, but that is to be expected)! The only thing I wish we could have done was to see Mass, but the timing just didn’t work out. At least we took a great tour!
When the time had come to leave the Notre Dame we didn’t want to waste the good weather, so we decided to take a little walk around the surrounding area. After a few minutes we came to a small bridge filled with locks and it hit me like a ton of bricks that out of everything I wanted to do in Paris, this is the one thing we totally forgot about! But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning. One of Paris’s staples is a bridge called the “Pont des Arts”, where lovers come to affix a lock and throw the key in the Seine river thus symbolizing their love and lifelong commitment. It is something I really wanted to do with Stephane, but totally forgot until I saw this little bridge outside of the Notre Dame. This, of course, wasn’t the Pont des Arts, it was some tiny copy, but nonetheless I was very upset that I didn’t plan better! Stephane was also noticeably upset because he is the big planner in our relationship and he also forgot about the bridge with the locks, as I like to call it.
Pont des Arts
Not wanting to miss one of the attractions that I was most looking forward to seeing, despite the fact that we didn’t have a lock to attach, we decided to take a ride over and see the bridge anyways. I was probably going to try and buy an overpriced lock that they sell to stupid tourists, like me, who forget their own, but it was a purchase I would have been all to happy to make! When we arrived I was astounded by the number of locks; countless symbols of generations of lovers who came to this spot to commemorate their relationships. In fact, there were so many locks that people started attaching their locks to other locks due to a sever lack of space. Stephane and I wondered how many of the people belonging to these locks were still together, but we knew that if we had a lock we would try to find a unique space on the bridge, because if you attach your lock to another’s lock, and those people end their relationship, so your’s is doomed as well. We didn’t want that! But, alas, we had no lock…
We found a lovely bench right in the center of the bridge and decided we would sit for a while, enjoy the weather, and watch the mix of lovers and artists that flooded the bridge. A musician was playing “La vie en rose” in the background, and it was a perfect time to unwind and take in the scenery. A few minutes after we sat down Stephane gave me a bag and announced that he had one last surprise for me in Paris. Unable to guess what is was I opened the bag and almost fell out of my seat when I saw what he had brought for me!
Leave it to that wonderful man of mine to think of absolutely everything! He had built it up in my head that he forgot a lock only to make the surprise of presenting me with this beauty all the more special! Needless to say, everyone around us couldn’t believe what he was giving me! On one of the nights that I gave Stephane and his dad some much needed alone time, Stephane snuck into his dad’s warehouse, found this lock, bought glass hearts to attach to it, and kept it a well hidden secret until this moment. If there is one thing I know, this lock not only represented how much we love each other, but it was about to be used to truly leave our mark on Paris! We decided to write each other’s names in the hearts, and because there was no key to throw into the river (this baby was so advanced that it had a code opener), we picked two pairs of numbers significant to our relationship, wrote a special message inside, and then worked on finding a really special place to attach it to the bridge! We had to search long and hard for a unique spot on the bridge because we would not let our relationship rest on other people’s locks! That was truly the biggest challenge, but Stephane worked his magic and found a great spot right at the beginning of the bridge! It was fascinating to see all of the tourists and locals gather around to see this amazingly unique lock going up on the bridge, and once it was attached, our relationship was sealed, and our mark was left on Paris!
Stephane gave me the most incredible last memory of Paris, and it was the perfect, most amazing, way to end our fabulous vacation. I didn’t want to leave, but at least I was leaving with a lifetime of glorious, deliriously happy memories. I like to look at my time in Paris as the start of a beautiful relationship with this enchanting city. America is my country, Israel is my home, and Paris will soon become my playground, and we will find ourselves back there as often as we can. Thank goodness Stephane is from there, and has so much family remaining, giving us great excuses to return often!
With that, we said goodbye to Paris, returned to Livry-Gargan, packed our bags, spent the next day (our last day in France) shopping for pounds and pounds of cheese to bring home, got a few hours of sleep, woke up at 3am, were in the airport by 4, and by 6:30am we were on the plane back to Israel. Minus a little hiccup with the weight of our luggage in Paris, a hiccup that Stephane handled very creatively, I might add, the trip home was very steady, and I was so excited to return to warm weather! I missed Paris terribly, but thankfully I am already planning my next trip back!
I miss you forever and always, and love you more than words can express
Until we meet again <3,